Detail from the cover of Marlon James’ brand-new novel.
Image: Riverhead Books

Well, this is actually perfect. Marlon James’ epic fantasy novel Black Leopard, Red Wolf just his shelves yesterday, and it’s already been snapped up by Hollywood, in the form of Black Panther star Michael B. Jordan, who picked up the rights as part of a new producing deal with Warner Bros.

If you read io9's interview with James that ran earlier this week, you would already know how very excellent this news is. First, James—who dubbed the book, and the Dark Star Trilogy that it kicks off, “the African Game of Thrones”—made no secret of how he’d be thrilled to see his words adapted for the screen. He admitted that “it would be interesting to see how it would be adapted, because I still think our cinematic language of sci-fi and fantasy is still very European—particularly fantasy. And my book is not even remotely European.” But then he went on to praise Black Panther, a movie he enjoyed so much he saw it multiple times, for inventing “a brand-new kind of a cinematic landscape” that shows what fantasy that’s not rooted in European culture can achieve. Since Jordan was a big part of that film, it stands to reason that he’ll carry that inspiration over to this new project.

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The Hollywood Reporter notes that James will act as an executive producer on the adaptation, but there was no further word on what form that adaptation might take (a movie or movies, or a series?), who will write it, or whether Jordan might appear in it.

The tale of a man known only as “Tracker” who joins a party of strange and magical creatures searching for a kidnapped boy across a fantastical landscape, Black Leopard, Red Wolf is certainly epic enough to sustain a TV series, though considering the book balances fantasy with plenty of sex, brutal violence, and what James called “decidedly adult themes,” it would need to be aired someplace like HBO or Netflix to do it justice. Obviously, we’ll be keeping an eye out for more news on this one.

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